Book: The Appointed Times of Jesus the Messiah
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How Jesus Christ’s Second Coming is Pictured by
The Annual Feasts of Pentecost and Trumpets

There are numerous prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments that discuss the second coming of Jesus the Messiah. During His three and one-half year ministry, Jesus taught the disciples that He was going to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, and that they would rule with Him. Consequently, some disciples thought that after Jesus was raised from the dead He would establish the kingdom immediately. However, it was not until after the resurrected Christ had appeared to the disciples over a forty-day period that they first began to realize He would ascend to heaven and then come again—at “the appointed time” in the future—to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Yet, Jesus’ followers did not know when or how He would return. In fact, Jesus had already informed them that no one would know the “day or hour” of His coming (Matt. 24:36; 25:13). This is why, just before His final ascension into heaven, they asked Him, “Lord, will You restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?” Jesus answered: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority; but you yourselves shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:6-8).

Being witnesses of Jesus’ teachings and resurrection “unto the ends of the earth” would obviously take time; thus, the disciples began to realize that it would be some period of time before Christ would return to establish the kingdom. Later, the apostles came to understand that Jesus was not going to return until God’s own set or “appointed time” in the future, as shown by what Peter preached after he and John had performed a miraculous healing of a crippled man: “Therefore, repent and be converted in order that your sins may be blotted out, so that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Him Who was before proclaimed to you, Jesus Christ, Whom the heaven must indeed receive until the [appointed] times of restoration of all things, of which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).

While the apostles did not know “the times or the seasons” in 30 AD, they learned more and more of God’s plan as time went on. By 51 AD, when the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, the apostles understood considerably more about the timing of the end, primarily based on the framework of God’s annual feasts and holy days. “Now then, concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, there is no need that I write to you; for you yourselves understand perfectly that the day of the Lord will come exactly as a thief comes by night. For when they say, ‘Peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them, as travail comes upon a woman who is with child; and they shall by no means escape” (I Thess. 5:1- 3). From this passage it is apparent the apostles were growing in their understanding of end-time events. Yet, it was still quite incomplete. The disciples did not know how or when the end would come. Ultimately, no one can fully understand “the time and the seasons,” which are under the authority of God the Father.

After decades of preaching, teaching and watching events lead up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, the apostles started to understand that Jesus was not going to return in their lifetimes, but in the distant future. This is why God led them to compile their inspired writings into what became the New Testament, which was first finalized by the apostles Paul, Peter and John. (Later, John, assisted by Andrew, Philip and Mark, canonized the New Testament in 98 AD into its present form).

When John received the vision as recorded in the book of Revelation in about 95 AD, a sequence of prophetic events was unveiled to show how and approximately when Jesus was to return. However, the revelation was given to John in such a manner that it was nearly impossible to fathom the book at the time he wrote it. Even today, after 1900 years have passed, the majority of people cannot understand the Bible, let alone the book of Revelation. Indeed, many scholars and learned theologians have, down through the centuries, tried and failed. Subsequently, this mysterious last book of the Bible has been regarded as nothing more than religious myth.

On the other hand, astute Bible students and scholars generally recognize that many of the prophecies in the Old Testament book of Daniel provide the first part of the prophecies concerning the end time, while the book of Revelation provides the second part. Although God gave Daniel these prophecies, it was impossible for him to understand them. When Daniel wanted to know their meaning, God told him that it was not for him to know:

“ ‘But you, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.’ Then I, Daniel, looked; and behold, there stood two others, the one on this side, and the one on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen who was above the waters of the river: ‘How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?’ And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, saying, ‘It shall be for a time, times, and a half a time. And when they have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.’

“And I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, ‘O my lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and refined. But the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand’ ” (Dan. 12:4-10).

Down through the centuries, many have tried and failed to understand these prophecies. However, God informed Daniel that such prophecies were to be understood only at the time of the end.” Until then, they would be closed and sealed. Moreover, in the end times, the understanding of these prophecies would be given only to those who truly love and obey God the Father and Jesus Christ, and are led by the Holy Spirit. Thus, the world—in the grip of spiritual blindness—would never understand, even to the end.

As we have seen throughout this book, God has precisely designed the role of Jesus the Messiah in accordance with the “appointed times” of His holy days and festivals. Indeed, every key event in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ has been correlated to the various aspects of the Passover and holy day framework. Would the time of Jesus’ return be any different? Christ’s birth as a human occurred at “the appointed time”—most likely, as the evidence shows, on the Feast of Trumpets. Is it not likely, then, that God the Father would plan Jesus’ second coming so that it paralleled His first coming—and culminated on the same high day, the Feast of Trumpets? Again, we cannot know the “day or hour.” Clearly, the Feast of Trumpets pictures Jesus’ second coming—even if not the exact day of His return. As the books of Isaiah, Haggai and Revelation show, by the time the last Feast of Trumpets occurs, the sun, the earth, the moon and the stars will have been shaken out of their present orbits. This disruption of the heavens will cause tremendous confusion and chaos, making it impossible for any man to know the exact “day or hour” of Jesus’ return. Even though that time is pictured by specific biblical holy days, time itself will be in such disarray that only God the Father will know.

Daniel’s 70th Week: Setting the Stage for Jesus’ Return

Before we can properly outline key events surrounding “the appointed time” of Christ’s second coming, we must first revisit Daniel’s 70- week prophecy—for there is one, final “week” that belongs to the end time. This “week” is actually a period of seven years, and sets the stage for the coming of the prophesied Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, and the final events surrounding Jesus’ dramatic, visible, powerful, awesome return.

The crucifixion of Christ in 30 AD fulfilled the portion of the prophecy which declares, in Daniel 9:26, that the Messiah would be cut off after the completion of the sixty-two weeks. Following this statement in verse 26 is an indeterminate period of time—for the remainder of the prophecy through verse 27 projects forward into the “last days.” Verse 27 speaks of “one week”—the third and final division of the 70-week prophecy. The seventieth week, which represents a period of seven years, is thus separated from the second division of the prophecy by approximately 2000 years.

“And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of the prince who shall come [at the time of the end] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. But his end shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he [the prince who invades Judea] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week [seven years]. And in the midst [the halfway point] of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease, and upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate even until the consummation. And the fully determined end which is decreed shall be poured out upon the desolator” (verses 26-27).

This passage describes a time of war and conflict leading up to the establishment of a particular covenant or treaty between a powerful “prince” and the Jews concerning what is called the State of Israel today. This treaty is “confirmed” for “one week”—that is, it actually ushers in Daniel’s seventieth week, or the final seven years. Midway through this seven-year period (after three and one-half years) the “covenant” will be broken by this “prince”— evidenced by his abolishment of the daily sacrifices and his defilement of the restored Temple (apparently the daily sacrifices and other Temple functions will be reinstituted some time after the beginning of the seven years as part of the “treaty”). The defilement of the Temple by this “prince”—the Antichrist— corresponds to the setting up of the “abomination of desolation” in the Temple, a key event referred to by both Daniel and Jesus.

The Coming European Beast System

Bible prophecy does not indicate a specific time frame for these events to develop leading up to the seventieth week. Rather, Scripture gives us a sequence of events as a framework. Only at the very end—the last seven years—do we find a specific time sequence laid out for us, showing that it is divided into two segments of three and one-half years (or 42 months). The “prince” of Daniel 9:26-27, the evil king of Daniel 11:36-45, and the final Beast of Revelation 13 are one in the same. Paul refers to him as the “man of sin,” the “son of perdition” who comes into the end-time Temple in Jerusalem and proclaims himself to be the manifestation of God in the flesh (II Thess. 2:3-12).

Notice John’s vision in Revelation 13, which foretells of the rise and development of a satanic world government depicted as a “beast with seven heads and ten horns”:

“And I stood on the sand of the sea; and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, and his feet like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion [depicting the great Gentile empires of Daniel 7]; and the dragon [Satan the devil] gave him his power, and his throne and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it were slain to death, but his deadly wound was healed; and the whole earth was amazed and followed the beast.

And they worshiped the dragon, who gave his authority to the beast. And they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast? Who has the power to make war against him?’ And a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies was given to him; and authority was given to him to continue for forty-two months [after the deadly wound is healed]. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. And he was given power to make war against the saints, and to overcome them; and he was given authority over every tribe and language and nation [thus, a world government].

“And all who dwell on the earth will worship him [as the manifestation of God in the flesh], whose names have not been written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear” (Rev. 13:1-9).

The “Beast” has three aspects to it. First, it will be a world system of government. Second, it is clear from other prophecies that there must be a complete revival of Europe as the center of world power. Third, Revelation 13 transitions into its final leader—also called the “Beast”—who is given total rule over all the world for the last seven years. The first three and onehalf years will probably be a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity (I Thess. 5:2-3). However, at the conclusion of the first three and one-half years its great leader will suffer a deadly wound—but his wound will be healed.

The Coming False Prophet

Working with him will be another beast—depicted as a lamb with two horns but speaking like a dragon (Satan the devil). This second beast is the end-time great false prophet who will perform miraculous signs and wonders, even calling fire down from heaven. In partnership with the Beast, he will be the leader of a new world religion. The signs and wonders he performs will convince all people, and hence all religions, to come together and worship the Beast—the Antichrist—as God manifested in the flesh:

“And I saw another beast rising out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon; and he exercises all the [worldwide] authority of the first beast before him; and he causes the earth and those who dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he performs great wonders, so that he even causes fire to come down to the earth from heaven in the sight of men.

“And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by means of the wonders that were given to him to perform in the sight of the beast, saying to those who dwell on the earth that they should make an image for the beast, which had the wound by the sword, yet was alive. And he was given power to give life to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast also could speak; and he causes everyone who will not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Rev. 13:11-15).

After the Beast’s deadly wound is healed, the “false prophet” will pronounce him to be “the manifestation of God on earth.” The whole world will then worship the Beast and Satan the devil. Moreover, after his deadly wound is healed, the Beast, also called the Antichrist, continues for 42 months, ruling with absolute power as “God on earth”—even killing the saints.

Prior to the final seven years of Daniel 9:27, the Bible does not tell us how long this world government will be functioning—and it could be a number of years. It will undoubtedly take a number of years to reach its full power; moreover, the Bible does not indicate how many leaders this European system will have prior to the establishment of its final leader, the king of the north (Dan. 11:40), as the great leader of the new world government, the final Beast. Ultimately, he and the “false prophet” will be cast alive into the lake of fire when Christ and the resurrected saints take over the world and institute God’s rule of the Kingdom of God (Rev. 19:11-21).

Three Major Events that Signal the Return of Christ

Many of the signs Jesus said would precede His return have reoccurred over and over again from the first century AD—such as false prophets, wars, rumors of wars, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, persecutions and martyrdom. But there are three major events—yet to develop— which will signal the beginning of the end, the Great Tribulation, and the return of Jesus Christ. Other preparatory events arise in conjunction with these major events, serving as key end-time benchmarks.

Event Number One—the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and the work of the Two Witnesses. The Temple: When the “prince” of Daniel 9:26-27 and the Jews agree to the prophesied end-time “covenant,” there is little question that the agreement will thrust open the door for the Jews to rebuild the Temple and reinstitute animal sacrifices. In as much as Jesus made known to His disciples that the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel would stand in the “holy place” (Matt. 24:15; etc.), we can conclude that the Temple must, in the end time, be restored and functioning.

This is detailed in Revelation 11, where the apostle John sees a vision of a yet future Temple: “Then the angel gave me a measuring rod like a staff, saying, ‘Arise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship in it. But leave out the court that is within the temple area, and do not measure it because it has been given up to the Gentiles; and they shall trample upon the holy city Jerusalem for forty-two months’ ” (verses 1-2).

It is a well-known fact that the Temple Institute in Jerusalem has already prepared many of the instruments needed for the Temple rituals— including the rules covering animal sacrifices, washings, etc. Animals are being bred specifically for this purpose, priests are being trained, priestly and Levitical garments have been fashioned—even the “lots” used by the High Priest to select the Day of Atonement sacrifice are ready. Though we are not told, it is feasible that much of the Temple itself may already be prepared in prefabricated form. The key, however, is that only this “covenant” with the Antichrist will pave the way for the Jews to actually proceed with their plans for a new, functioning Temple, as he will guarantee them protection and peace with the Islamic nations.

The Two Witnesses: Immediately following the vision of the Temple, God tells John that He will raise up His “Two Witnesses” in Jerusalem and give them extraordinary powers. Their mission will be to powerfully witness to the whole world that Jesus Christ—the true Messiah—is about to return! “And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two lampstands that stand before the God of the earth” (Rev. 11:3-4).

The Two Witnesses will be personally selected and chosen by God the Father and Jesus Christ. Who are these two men and where will they come from? When we carefully examine the prophecies of Zechariah chapters 3-4, we discover that one of the Two Witnesses will be the high priest of this end-time Temple, and the other will be the governor of Judea. John’s vision in Revelation 11 refers to them as “two olive trees.” Notice the similarity in Zechariah’s prophecy: “And I answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive trees on the right side of the lampstand and on its left side?’ And I answered again and said to him, ‘What are the two olive branches beside the two golden pipes, emptying the golden oil out of themselves?’ And he answered me and said, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.’ And he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones who stand by the LORD of the whole earth’ ” (Zech. 4:11-14). This description can be nothing other than the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11.

The Two Witnesses will not be self-proclaimed or appointed by any man. They will have such awesome power that no one will be able to harm them throughout the 1260 days of their testimony. Notice: “And if anyone attempts to harm them, fire will go out of their mouths and devour their enemies. For if anyone attempts to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These [Two Witnesses] have authority to shut heaven so that no rain may fall in the days of their prophecy; and they have authority over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they will” (Rev. 11:5-6).

When the Two Witnesses have completed their testimony, God will permit the prince of the people, the Beast who made the covenant with the Jews, to finally kill them. The Two Witnesses will die as the last two martyrs for Jesus Christ—and the world will rejoice!

“And when they have completed their testimony, the beast who ascends out of the abyss will make war against them, and will overcome them, and will kill them. And their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those of the peoples and tribes and languages and nations [the whole world] shall see their bodies three and a half days, for they will not allow their bodies to be put into tombs. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, and will make merry, and will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets had tormented those who dwell on the earth” (verses 7-10).

However, immediately prior to the blowing of the seventh trumpet— which signals the first resurrection—God will raise them back to life. Thus, the Two Witnesses—the last two martyrs—will be the first ones to rise from the dead, precisely fulfilling Jesus’ saying that “the last shall be first.” As they are ascending into heaven, the seventh trumpet will sound and the resurrection of the saints will take place.

“Then after the three and a half days, the spirit of life from God entered into them and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, say, ‘Come up here!’ And they ascended into heaven in a cloud; and their enemies saw them rise. And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; and seven thousand men were killed in the earthquake. And the rest were filled with fear, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming immediately.

Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign into the ages of eternity.’ And the twentyfour elders, who sit before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come; for You have taken to Yourself Your great power, and have reigned. For the nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time for the dead to be judged, and to give reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to all those who fear Your name, the small and the great; and to destroy those who destroy the earth’ ” (verses 11-18).

Recall that the Beast/Antichrist will have made a covenant with the Jews for “one week”—seven years. At precisely the midpoint of the seven years—in the “midst of the week”—the Antichrist will stop the Temple sacrifices and establish himself in the Temple “as God” (II Thess. 2:4). This event is the abomination that makes desolateof which both Daniel and Jesus warned. The Two Witness will have come on the scene just prior to the middle of that seven-year period—just prior to the setting up of the “abomination.” Thus, these two powerful prophets will warn the world of what the Beast is about to do—proclaim himself to be “God”!

Event Number Two—the abomination that makes desolateand the Great Tribulation. Jesus was very specific in describing the “abomination that makes desolate” standing in the “holy place” because the Great Tribulation of the end cannot begin until the Temple in Jerusalem has been rebuilt—and is fully functioning again—and the “abomination of desolation” stands in the holy place. Notice what Jesus warned: “Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (the one who reads, let him understand)…. For then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until this time, nor ever shall be again” (Matt. 24:15, 21).

The parenthetical phrase “the one who reads, let him understand” was not actually spoken by Jesus. Rather, the apostle John—who oversaw the final canonization of the New Testament—was inspired to add the phrase as a late edit. In 95 AD, when John wrote the book of Revelation, the Temple had already been destroyed—twenty-five years earlier in 70 AD. Yet, at the time it was destroyed, John knew there had been no “abomination of desolation” that stood in the holy place, and the Great Tribulation did not begin. Also, in the prophecy of the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, John was given a vision of a Temple in Jerusalem. So he knew that before the end would come the Temple had to be rebuilt. This is why God inspired him to add this phrase in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14—“the one who reads, let him understand”—to let future generations know that the end cannot come until the Jews rebuild the Temple, and that it would be desecrated by the abomination of desolation.”

John also understood from Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians that the “abomination of desolation” would be in the person of the Antichrist, boasting that he himself was God:

“Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled—neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle, as if from us, saying that the day of Christ is present. Do not let anyone deceive you by any means because that day will not come unless the apostasy shall come first, and the man of sin shall be revealed—the son of perdition, the one who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is an object of worship; so that HE COMES INTO THE TEMPLE OF GOD AND SITS DOWN AS GOD, PROCLAIMING THAT HE HIMSELF IS GOD!

“Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? And now you understand what is holding him back in order for him to be revealed in his own set time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already working; only there is one Who is restraining at the present time until it arises out of the midst. And then the lawless one will be revealed (whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and will destroy with the brightness of His coming); even the one whose coming is according to the inner working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are perishing because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved. And for this cause, God will send upon them a powerful deception that will cause them to believe the lie, so that all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but who took pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:1-12).

Paul’s phrase concerning the man of sin—“whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and will destroy with the brightness of His coming”—clearly defines the time setting as near Christ’s return, linking the man of sin to the end-time “abomination” that makes desolate. These Scriptures also tell us that, in addition to the Temple being rebuilt, the Antichrist— the “Beast” of Revelation 13—must appear before the return of Christ. This key event, in addition to all the others, must occur first!

In fact, the Antichrist sitting in the Temple of God proclaiming himself to be God is the key event that triggers the Great Tribulation. As Jesus explained, it cannot begin until then: “Therefore, WHEN you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (the one who reads, let him understand)…. For THEN shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until this time, nor ever shall be again” (Matt. 24:15, 21).

In Daniel chapter 11, this key event is prophesied in detail. Keep in mind that this lengthy prophecy has already been fulfilled in type by the Syrian dictator Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC). Many of the details of the passage (verses 21-35) apply only to the time of Antiochus’ desecration of the Temple in 168 BC, and thus serve as a foreshadowing of the coming Antichrist and the “abomination of desolation” (see Appendix C). However, the latter portion of the passage—verses 36-45 and parts of chapter 12—brings the prophecy into the modern era at the end time dealing specifically with the coming Antichrist.

“And the king [the “prince” of Daniel 9:26-27—the Antichrist] shall do according to his will. And he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god [just as Paul warned, he will sit in the Temple proclaiming himself to be God], and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods [showing that he is the Antichrist], and shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished [until the end of the seven-year period], for that which is decreed [prophesied] shall be done. He will not regard the gods of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god, for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his place he shall honor the god of forces [the strongest fortresses]; and a god whom his fathers did not know shall he honor with gold and silver, and with precious stones and costly things. So he shall deal against the fortresses of the strongest with a strange [foreign] god, whom he shall acknowledge; and shall increase with glory. He shall cause them to rule over many and shall divide the land for a price.

“And at the time of the end, the king of the south [a confederacy of Arab nations] shall push [strike] at him. And the king of the north [the Antichrist, the “beast” of Revelation 13] shall come against him [in war] like a whirlwind with chariots and with horsemen and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries and shall overflow and sweep through [the entire Middle East]. He shall also enter into the glorious land [the land of Israel], and many countries shall be overthrown. But these shall escape out of his hand: Edom and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon [Jordan]. And he shall stretch out his hand also upon the countries. And the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt. And the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings [of opposition] out of the east and out of the north [from the northeast—a massive Asian alliance led by Russia and China] shall alarm him. Then he will go forth with great fury to destroy and to utterly annihilate many [nuclear war]. And he shall plant his royal tents between the seas in the glorious holy mountain [in Jerusalem]. Yet he shall come to his end [Christ will return to fight and defeat him], and none shall help him” (Dan. 11:36- 45).

Again, Jesus Himself points us to this vital prophecy recorded by Daniel. He said to His followers: “Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (the one who reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains…. For then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until this time, nor ever shall be again. And if those days were not limited, there would no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be limited” (Matt. 24:15-16, 21-22). Daniel chapter 12 confirms this amazing prophecy: “And there shall be a time of trouble [the Great Tribulation], such as never was since there was a nation even until that time” (Dan. 12:1).

Thus, the second event pointing to “the appointed time” of Jesus’ return is the setting up by the Antichrist of the “abomination of desolation”— which includes the abolishment of the Jews’ “daily sacrifice” ritual at the Temple. This event signals that the Antichrist has violated the treaty he had deviously made with the Jews—at the end of the first three and onehalf years—and that the Great Tribulation has begun.

This time of unprecedented trouble will continue throughout the remaining three and one-half years, and will be brought to an end only by Christ’s direct intervention during the “Day of the Lord” and by His final return at “the appointed time.”

In a prophecy of the Great Tribulation in the Old Testament, we find that God instructs the prophet Jeremiah to take a cup from the Lord’s hand and make all the nations of the world “drink” from it—depicting that the Great Tribulation will involve all the nations of the world. Of course, Jeremiah could not have gone to all the nations of the world at that time, as this is a prophecy of the coming Great Tribulation in the last days:

“[Go to] all the kingdoms of the world, which are on the face of the earth; and the king of Sheshach [the coming Antichrist] shall drink after them. Therefore you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Drink and be drunk, and vomit, and fall, and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you.” ’ And it shall come to pass if they refuse to take the cup at your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “You shall certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by My name; and shall you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished. For I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,” says the LORD of hosts.’

“And prophesy against them all these words, and say to them, ‘The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation. He shall mightily roar over His dwelling place. He shall give a shout, like those who tread out grapes, against all the people of the earth. A noise shall come to the ends of the earth; for the LORD has a controversy with the nations; He will plead with all flesh. He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the LORD.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be stirred up from the farthest corners of the earth. And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth; they shall not be mourned, nor gathered, nor buried. They shall be as dung on the ground’ ” (Jer. 25:26-33).

Jeremiah’s prophecy verifies Jesus’ description of the Great Tribulation, that it would be an unprecedented time of trouble in the world: “For then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until this time, nor ever shall be again” (Matt. 24:21).

Prior to the third key event signaling Christ’s return are two important preparatory events—the “message of the three angels” and the enforcement of the “mark of the beast.” The messages of the three angels are powerfully given to the whole world prior to the start of the Great Tribulation. God will send these three mighty angels to warn the world:

“And I saw another angel [the first angel] flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and language and people; saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him, because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him Who made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ Then another angel followed [the second angel], saying, ‘The great city Babylon is fallen, is fallen, because of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, which she has given all nations to drink.’

“And a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives the mark in his forehead or in his hand, he shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed undiluted in the cup of His wrath; and he shall be tormented in fire and brimstone in the sight of the holy angels, and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends into the ages of eternity; and those who worship the beast and his image, and all who receive the mark of his name, have no rest day and night’ ” (Rev. 14:6-11).

To summarize: The first angel proclaims the gospel message to the whole world, warning all mankind to “fear God and give Him glory”—for His judgment is at hand. The second angel foretells of the imminent fall of “Babylon”—the entire political, economic and religious system formed by the nations led by the Beast and the false prophet. The third angel warns all of mankind to not worship the Beast or his image, and to not receive the markof the Beast.

From the context of Revelation 13 and 14, the three angels must give their warnings before the worship of the Beast and his image begins, and before the enforcement of the mark. God always gives a warning before something takes place, not after it has already happened—that is clearly evident throughout the Bible.

Revelation 13 shows that the Beast will enforce a global monetary solution called the “mark of the Beast.” Without this mark, no one will be able to buy or sell. “And he [the beast whose deadly wound was healed] causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, to receive a mark in their right hands, or in their foreheads; so that no one may have the ability to buy and sell unless he has the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:16-17).

By the time the Beast system fully develops, a new world banking system will have already been instituted—with digital and paper currency for a number of years. This will pave the way for the “mark of the Beast.” Never before in the history of the world has it been possible for such a monetary control system to be instituted. However, the technology now exists to bring about a global financial system in which literally everyone’s participation can be monitored and regulated. Interestingly, there have been recent reports that scientists are developing an invisible tattoo that can be applied on a person’s hand or forehead. Could this be a forerunner of the coming “mark”?

At the beginning of the Beast’s rule, the “mark” will not be immediately enforced. As we read Revelation 13, it is evident that the “mark” will not be enforced until after the Beast has recovered from his “deadly wound” and the final three and one-half years are ready to begin with the Great Tribulation. At that time, everyone on earth will be commanded by the “false prophet” to make an “image” for the Beast—probably to celebrate his return to life. Anyone refusing to do so will be killed (verses 14-15). Then the “mark of the Beast” will be fully forced upon everyone. The saints, however, will refuse to make the “image” for the Beast, or to worship it; and they will refuse to allow the “mark” to be put on their right hands or foreheads. As a result, the saints will be martyred for Christ.

The Third Event Signaling Jesus’ Appointed Return

The third event pointing to Christ’s return involves “the sign of the Son of Man in heaven” (Matt. 24:30). As we will see in the next chapter, this dramatic event begins at a set or “appointed time” and continues over an extended period of time. In order to properly understand this key event, we must examine its unique place in the framework of the holy days— particularly the Feasts of Pentecost and Trumpets.

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